Arlington Park's general manager says the track would "welcome" adding table games in addition to the slot machines it has sought for years.
Previous proposals called for the addition of 1, 200 slot machines at the Arlington Heights horse racing track. Now, as lawmakers try to craft a new plan in the light of the state's budget troubles, track General Manager Tony Petrillo said table games like blackjack or craps would boost the amount of money gambling sends to the state in taxes.
"That is something that we would welcome, " Petrillo said.
"Overall the state would do much better, " he said. "We have a company that's willing to invest over $100 million in an operation. And being able to be a contributor back to the state is probably one of the most important things a company can do right now."
State Sen. Matt Murphy, a Palatine Republican, confirmed adding table games is being discussed.
"It's on the table, " Murphy said.
As video gambling machines in bars and restaurants become more common, the track might need table games to keep up with the competition, he said.
How hard the idea will get pushed is in question. It's likely to raise serious concerns because the further lawmakers stray from the previous gambling proposals they've approved but failed to get signed into law, the harder it might become to get something done.
"It's not a small change, " state Rep. Bob Rita, a Blue Island Democrat and expansion supporter, said.
Nearby casinos like Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and the Grand Victoria in Elgin have worried about Arlington getting slot machines because the competition could hit their revenues. Table games at racetracks could make them look like a "full-blown casinos, " Illinois Casino Gaming Association director Tom Swoik said.
State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat who favors expanding gambling in Illinois, wouldn't say what might end up in a proposal.
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